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Working my way through some Indian recipes from a not very good book - an experiment in seeing what works and what doesn't. The night before last I turned my kitchen into a post-hurricane site with a

Ta. I must give this a try.

Thank you thank you. But doesn't everyone look better wearing a bath mat?

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Mabo tofu with peppers and ground lamb.

Hi Jin. I'd be interested to know your preparation of this dish. It's something I grew up with and still cook occasionally.

Well, probably should have said "mabo-ish". I have about ten ways or more of making it. The essential thing to me is tofu, ground lamb, and chiles.

 

One is to take pieces of semi-firm tofu, blanch them, scoop out a hollow, fill with sauteed ground lamb, dust lightly with rice flour, gently lower into a deep-fryer, then surround with a sauce (made from crushed chiles simmered in sake that has been then strained and reduced, some sesame oil, ginger, a bit of aka-miso and shoyu, salt and white pepper), top with a shower of slivered scallions atop.

 

Another is to saute shredded lamb, drain, build a layer of onion and chiles in the pan, moisten with sauce more or less as above, add back lamb and cubed silken tofu.

 

This was assorted peppers cut in broad sizes, a bit of white onion, rectangles of what I call "pillow" tofu that our local supplier makes which has the consistency of tamago (Japanese folded omelette), roasted in a convection oven for a bit in sauce with sauteed ground lamb mixed in at the end with a bit of minced shiso leaves for a mintish kind of effect.

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Cicoria, Uova e Cacio - a soup made of what, in my younger days, was always called endive in this country. Now it gets called frisee which I suppose is less confusing. Finely diced carrot, celery, onion, parsley cooked in beef stock. Finely diced lardo fried with some chopped onion; blanched, chopped frisee added; egg mixed with grated pecorino in a bowl, then lardo mixture added, then soup poured over. Fresh, healthy peasant food.

 

Much later, recognising the need for fuel for walking tomorrow: more salt cod fishcakes, this time without breadcrumb coating and fried in olive oil. More to my taste, if a little fragile in the pan. Served with blobs of homemade pesto on top.

 

Also (to the disgust of the butcher at the Ginger Pig) I took a piece of rolled pork loin, cut off the thick layer of fat and rind (will become lard anon); butterflied it to make a rectangular flat piece; covered with mix of chopped parsley, garlic, chilli powder, nutmet, finely diced pecorino; topped with slices of pancetta (and a couple of measly rashers of bacon that needed using up), rolled up and tied with string in a most unbutcherly fashion. This will be kind of pot-roasted tomorrow.

 

v

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It's just what I like doing.

 

Tonight supper was backwards, eaten in the order of things being ready rather than convention.

 

First the pork described yesterday: I happen to have a Le Creuset terrine that it fitted just snugly. Browned in olive oil and lard, red wine added and allowed to boil a bit, then a tin of tomatoes sieved over, heat turned down (and heat-diffuser mat under the pan because I never trust Le Creuset) and cooked for something like 1 1/2 hours. There ended up being more liquid than I expected - no evaporation via the little hole in the lid - but that was probably a good thing. Eaten on top of some boiled frozen sweetcorn. Should have had pecorino grated on top but I forgot. Tasty.

 

This was a Valentina Harris bowdlerisation of an ancient Italian peasant recipe. At least I replaced the bacon (mostly) with pancetta. It should have been dried, non-sweet corn as a main dish with the meat as a kind of seasoning. Whatever, it tasted good.

 

Then something else from Delia's Winter Collection. As usual I find she over-seasons and flavours are a bit strident to my taste, but at least it works: a Roquefort cheesecake served lukewarm with sliced pears with a balsamic vinaigrette. Those Solstice Williams pears :rolleyes:

 

Perhaps some blackberry fool later?

 

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Tonight, I did my own version of some favourite Chinese take-out dishes: Beef & green peppers, softened bean sprouts with soy sauce and rice. I ran out of beef stock for the extra sauce, but can get more tomorrow & work on the left-overs.

Sake: Hakutsuru (dry). My first experience with sake. I left it at room temperature, neither heated nor chilled. Although the first sip was surprisingly nondescript, it had an equally surprising finish. Tasting it as one would a wine, revealed the undertones of the rice from which it was so carefully created. Subtle and a good match for the meal. :rolleyes:

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An oven-proof soup bowl with some lightly cooked spinach with lump of butter, s&p & nutmeg mixed in, some cheese sauce, an egg broken on top, half a sliced tomato, more cheese sauce, baked a while then grated cheese on top and grilled briefly.

 

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Panang Nuea (Pim's 'homesick curry') *

 

Tom Yam Goong (Pim via David Thompson [Pimk?])

 

Grilled prawn salad (David Thompson via Kiku)

 

Morning glory stir fry (David Thompson via Honey I Shrunk the Ingredients)

 

Thai rice from my new fuzzy logic cooker :rolleyes:

 

* tasted great -- but having made the paste I cooked it for about 15 years in some coconut milk and it didn't visibly crack; what did I do wrong?

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An oven-proof soup bowl with some lightly cooked spinach with lump of butter, s&p & nutmeg mixed in, some cheese sauce, an egg broken on top, half a sliced tomato, more cheese sauce, baked a while then grated cheese on top and grilled briefly.

 

v

This sounds so good. It's just hard for me to visualize (and more specifics in the cooking would be welcome), but I want to make something like this.

 

Dinner here was homemade pizza with orange bells, mushrooms, goat cheese, bocquerones (tangy little guys!), a faint dusting of cayenne, topped with grated Quatro Formaggio from Trader Joe's.

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Pasta pie from "FLAVOURS OF GREECE" Rosemary Barron. The more I read this book, the more I think that it is one of the most interesting cookbooks I have seen for some while. In this recipe the bechamel sauce topping is flavoured with various cheeses and enriched with egg yolks, but then the whipped egg whites are foled in. This gives a lovely soufle top and is just delish.

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Thai rice from my new fuzzy logic cooker :rolleyes:

Was that a holiday souvenir, Kiku?

 

I've had a problem with getting those UHT cartons of coconut cream to crack. The normal tinned stuff has always worked, though.

 

Yesterday was the first night of The Culinary Rehabilitation of Mr J. He elected to prepare Ginger Pig sirloin steak a la MEAT book, twice-fried chips and mixed leaf salad. It was a very good first effort, and the chips were PERFECT. He hasn't stopped talking about them since.

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